Monday, 14 December 2009

The Invisible Man

Christmas lights reflect off the bonnets of the parked cars, making them shine. It's dark and cold outside, but the heat from the car keeps me warm.

I'm waiting for the lights to change and listening to 21st Century Breakdown (general opinion: tries to hard to be something it isn't, but a good effort nonetheless. 7 out of 10 could do better). Despite the fact that it's nearly Christmas there's almost nobody about.

I'm only half-listening to the music: thinking about the giant holding cell that has become my life for the last 6 weeks. No change that - for the last year since we got the news about the end of the contract. Since that my ever increasing phrase of the day has been "When I know for sure about my job I'll..."

What? Go on a cruise? Get all the stuff sorted in my house? Study for a degree? There's so much I want to do and none of it seems to get any nearer.

Sometimes in life you can find yourself permanently waiting for that traffic light to change - for that opportunity to arrive. Truth is that I should get out there and make it happen: but I probably never will.

So what's been good about the past six weeks? Well I wrote a novel. It felt good to do something creative, to put something out there again. For so long I've been holding myself back because I'd lost my belief in my ability - you must know how it feels: you work long and hard on something and when its done a few people may look at it and grunt before it gets put in a box, but that's it...I mean what's the point? The very purpose of a novel is to be read, and a painting must be displayed.

So what's the point of me?

The lights change and I drive to the school where my partner is teaching. There's still ten minutes before the end of her class, so I look at the artwork on the walls and decide that some of it is just too damned good. There's a wall just outside the classroom where they've put up a picture of all the teachers in the school and I scan down it, noticing a few blank spaces where no picture has been supplied.

Being me I decide that the teachers involved were Invisible and spend a few minutes wondering how one puts that on one's application form and whether invisibility is covered in equal opportunities legislation. I think back to my own school days: I guess I was just average - which is the worst thing to be at school. If you're smart you stand out and all the teachers want you in their class so that they look good - if you're stupid and mess about then everyone knows you and you get all the attention in the world. If you're average you either get told how stupid and useles you are or you just slip through the cracks, unnoticed


But as I reach the bottom layer of the pictures I see a familiar face - it's one of the Art teachers who taught me when I was a kid: still going strong. Not the teacher who couldn't be bothered to enter me for my exams because of the paperwork, not the one that was only interested in his A level students: the other one.

The one who I only had for about one term.

The one who didn't care how good or bad you were as long as you tried and expressed yourself.

Maybe he was right: maybe the important thing is just to try...and maybe you might succeed along the way?


Argent said...

Oh my, Monday morning has hit you pretty hard, today. You know perfectly well (or should do if you listen to anything I ever say :-) ) that you're NOT useless, you DO have talent and creativity and you work hard at your projects, which is more than I do. I think it's the miserable weather that's messing everyobdy up at the moment. I'll keep them crossed that your new lords and masters will sort out something for you properly.

English Rider said...

That one term art teacher succeeded, if at nothing else, it seems his point of view illuminates your past and future. Maybe he has been with you all along in a Time warp, Doctor Who, Tardis kind of way.

iNdi@ said...

i figure any day i wake up breathing is already showing promise. i bought a cd today from a guitarist in the park
just out there making beautiful music
selling a cd helped
he just said this was how he needed to spend his time
music in the park
you could always publish your novel on the 'net, and folks could download it [i know books are better to take to bed but at least you're saving trees] and pay you whatever you think reasonable. easiest way would be to save it as a pdf i guess and set up a way for people to pay you [through paypal, for example]
just a thought
you write well

Michael said...

The desire to be noticed really messes us up, doesn't it? That is the problem -- mine anyway -- not the act of trying or not. It's frustrated desire. Chasing after praise. Fruitless pursuits.

It turns into a deep freeze of action because it's easier to do nothing than it is to risk the uninterested grunt.

The point of writing a novel is not to find success. It's because that is what you are supposed to do. It's what you're good at. And if you aren't good at it, then you can see this and do what you need to get better.

Somehow, we need to be our own invisible teachers. Simply put, we need to love ourselves as we are.

Easy righ? Ha!

English Rider said...

Hi Pixie, Here is a poem I just discovered by William Stafford. "When I met My Muse".
I glanced at her and took my glasses off-they were still singing. They buzzed like a locust on the coffee table and then ceased. Her voice belled forth, and the sunlight bent. I felt the ceiling arch, and knew that nails up there took a new grip on whatever they touched. "I am your own way of looking at things," she said. "When you allow me to live with you, every glance at the world around you will be some sort of salvation." And I took her hand.

Lydia said...

Heartwarming. I hope you do get in touch with that teacher to share this with him. He deserves to know and it would make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside for doing it.

Sounds like you are in a situation similar to ours with regard to work. Michael's job will be on the possible chopping block after January, depending upon how a special tax vote goes....and right now it looks like stupidity is winning so we may really be in a world of hurt. I, too, keep thinking if the job works out I'll do this and this.
To make matters worse my old car clunked down to two cylinders last week...after we had a new muffler and new tires installed on it. I am pissed and depressed. Sorry to unload here, but gads ya got to be able to commiserate with someone who in part understands. Heaven knows that my friend who is winging her way to Hawaii with husband, daughter, son, and three grandchildren for Christmas wouldn't quite get my lack of cheer. But I'm trying to be perky and honestly am enjoying our Christmas tree and my blessings.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

i never did respond to anyone on this - thought i had. Whoops!

Thanks all for your sharings - it's reassuring to find similar minds out there. I really aught to send him (the art teacher) a note or something - but he definately gets an invite to my first show!